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Klaus Schulze: Live @ Klangart

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For more than three decades, Klaus Schulze has remained one of the most prolific and influential musicians in the field of contemporary electronic music. Many consider him to be the primary source of synthesized creativity. His music has won him international renown, and entertained countless individuals on a global scale.

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KLAUS SCHULZE: Live @ Klangart, CD 1 and CD 2 (two separate CDs on Rainhorse/Manikin Records)

On June 9, 2001, Schulze entertained a rapt audience with his extended live performance at the KlangArt Festival in Osnabruck, Germany. This spectacular event is presented in the form of these two CDs, including several tracks featuring the magnificent cello of Wolfgang Tiepold, who accompanied Schulze during the second set.

CD 1 features 70 minutes of this awesome live performance. It begins with an abstract passage of gurgling and soaring notes, these richly artificial sounds soon fall prey to emergent riffs that swarm like eagles from a chaotic core to swim with intense majesty as they coalesce to generate a rhythmic pastiche. Keyboard sequences dance with distantly heavenly choirs, delineating a luxurious melody. Electronic percussives enter, goading the music into compulsive territory. These rhythms waver like a liquid substance, flowing with the frontal riffs in a astounding comportment. The sinuous presence of this percussion rarely usurps control, becoming an equal partner in the sonic gestalt: unobtrusive but pleasantly integral.

There is a constant versatility displayed by the actual sounds heard in this music, for Schulze is prone to employ sampled conventional instruments in his synthesized art, so that flutes, vocal effects, even entire orchestras can frequently be detected in the opulent mix.

One of the greatest appeals of Schulze's music is the rich humanity of his compositions. Under his seasoned direction, deeply artificial sounds that would normally be devoid of emotion are laced with a demonstrative passion that tantalizes the soul with its deep bass tones while tickling the spirit with its enthusiastic heights.

This music is brimming with drama and hypnotic potential, as Schulze moves from one crescendo peak to the next, winding his way through valleys of thrilling and thoughtful melodies. There is often a forlorn sentimentality lurking in his more sedate passages, evoking an emotional longing that remains untainted by any despair, as if attainment of one's goals were a certain thing.

The final track, "I Loop You Schwindelig" is cut in the style Schulze has pursued for some time, much to the glee of his many fans. The melody is energetic, establishing a constant beat with synthesized bongos and cavorting along with fancifully interwoven sequences of treated keyboards. The tune itself is riveting, possessing an urgent quality that is quite infectious. Building in intensity and complexity, this 28 minute epic delivers maximum effect on both stimulating and relaxing levels.

CD 2 features 67 more minutes from this awesome concert. On a pair of the tracks, Schulze is joined by classical cellist Wolfgang Tiepold.

This time, it begins with twittering strings and softly ricocheting notes. A bubbling pulsation flickers at the periphery of the mix, slowly swelling and transforming into a dominant riff that guides the rest of the music into more intricate patterns. The emergence of a shrill melody provokes a dizzying response in the listener, as the music expands to fill the environment from horizon to horizon with its dynamic-yet-unaggressive presence. Delicate and snappy digital percussion provides an agitated undercurrent that stimulates without overwhelming the meticulous balance of the music's grandeur.

It is simply amazing the density of the music that this single maestro can produce live on stage when surrounded by his towering banks of electronic apparatus. The addition of any secondary musician seems almost pointless, but such is not the case with Tiepold's cello mastery. Schulze and Tiepold have worked together a few times during the last pair of decades, each collaboration producing masterpieces of modern electronic music.

The introduction of a natural cello to Schulze's vivacious wall of synthesized sound is simply incredible, attributing a distinct romanticism to the already powerful music. In one track, there are instances in which Tiepold's strings explore the thickness of tragedy while Schulze's presence fades to a textural flow; eventually these contemplative moments evolve more deterministic positivism as the tone of the lament streams to become assertive and spiritually rewarding--even quite uptempo. There is also a passage that evokes meaningful remembrance with blissful cello strains and somber atmospherics.

The CD comes to a close with a solo Schulze piece that stirs the depths of a deep dark pool, gradually rising from these waters to unfurl rhythms and riffs in a striking night sky. The keyboards become luminous, their expressions twining in the air like powerful DNA helixes. The E-perc demonstrates restraint with a simple-but-catchy beat. There is a touch of anticipation in the melody, hinting at the promise of infinite tomorrows.

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